Got to hang out at the Ninth Circuit Judiciary Conference this week and caught Janet Napolitano’s opening talk:
Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano says U.S. faces an eventful fall
Kind of unfortunate headline, though. I don’t think she was actually predicting the total collapse of the United States. Yet.
If so, well, you read it here first, folks.
And, by the way, we reporters don’t write the headlines.
Well, I am a reporter, so like everyone else, I’m following the shrinkage of newspapers with great interest. This essay by Clay Shirky is making the rounds, and says it all (almost):
Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable
A few quotes that resonate:
- “You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone!” has never been much of a business model.
- Now is the time for experiments, lots and lots of experiments, each of which will seem as minor at launch as craigslist did, as Wikipedia did, as octavo volumes did.
- Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.
- When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society’, the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’
As a long-time Internet geek who’s also a long-time reporter, I found this essay reassured me about journalism in ways most ‘Net fanatics haven’t been able to (As in, no, citizen journalism is not going to save us).